Image via iStock.com/FilippoBacci
By Dr. Wailani Sung
Everyone has behavioral quirks, and sometimes it appears that our cats have them, too. Do you find it unusual that you buy expensive cat toys and your cat would rather play with a simple hair tie?
Cats may be mysterious creatures, but there’s usually a reason behind their behaviors or an explanation for their interests. If you’re curious as to why your cat likes the weird things he does, then keep reading for insight on the motivation behind your cat’s fascination.
Drinking From Your Water Cup or the Faucet Instead of Their Fountain
So, you purchase an expensive cat water fountain and your cat likes to drink out of your glass or from the faucet. Why does he do that?
Your cat may not realize that your glass of water is your glass of water. He just may find it convenient that there is a vessel that contains water when he is thirsty, so he drinks from it. Cats in the wild will drink whenever they are thirsty and find a water source; they do not specifically look around for bowls of water.
Another perspective may be that your cat watches you drink, and she wants to drink what you are drinking. If it is good enough for you, it is good enough for her.
Some cats may prefer to drink from the faucet when you are busy washing dishes or brushing your teeth due to their fascination by water that suddenly appears.
Or, your cat may just have a taste preference for running water compared to water that has been sitting in a cat bowl all day, which leads to bacteria formation. Plus, food particles may fall in and change the taste of the water.
This is the reason why your cat’s water bowl should be changed several times a day and washed with soap and water at least daily.
Pushing Things Off Tables and Watching Them Break
Do you have a cat that just lives to knock things off your shelf? It is so frustrating to provide your cat with plenty of toys, only to have her knocking items off of counters and breaking things on a daily basis. Why do cats feel the need to do this?
Well, every time your cat pushes an item until it drops, it reacts in a different manner. It may just be fun for him to watch the items bounce around in different directions each time they fall or watch them shatter to multiple pieces.
Getting Into Boxes and Jumping Out of Them
Why are some cats obsessed with boxes? They are creatures of comfort, and sometimes being in a box with side support is comfortable. Other times, being in a box makes some cats feel safe and secure, like they are protected from all sides.
Boxes are also fun to hide in, spring out and surprise people and other pets in the household. I think the cats are secretly amused by the look of surprise or terror on our faces or the reactions from their housemates when they catch us unaware. Just like some people like to pull pranks, this is their way of pranking us.
Stalking Inanimate Electrical Cords
My cat is fascinated by electrical cords. Every night as we sit and watch television, I see him make the rounds around the living room. He bats at the tags attached to the cords. Then he grabs the cords and tries to bite it.
You would think that by now he would be bored with the game. Why would he keep doing it?
A reason may be that he might have learned that playing with the cord was a good way of getting my attention. Playing with the cord may also be fun because it moves in different and unexpected ways, which piques his interest.
By now I know his MO (modus operandi). So, I now pre-emptively get his attention and distract him with a cat feather wand, or we play a game of fetch to take his mind of off hunting the cord.
Having Their Butt Scratched
Have you ever had a cat walk up to you, turn around, and present their tail end? The area just above the tail that we would call the “butt” is an area that a cat cannot use its paws to scratch, and sometimes using your tongue to scratch does not do the trick.
Some cats have learned to back up against a dangling hand if they want a good scratch. Cats might indicate their enjoyment by purring, twitching their tails, raising their butts and sometimes arching up against your hand or foot.
What we see as quirky cat behaviors are normal cat behaviors that they need to express or those that are inadvertently reinforced. So relax and enjoy your cat’s unique personality!